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About US

Vanderbilt Basic Sciences, School of Medicine has a 20-year history of leadership in equity and inclusive mentoring first led by Linda Sealy, associate professor emerita of molecular physiology and biophysics. Meet our current DEI leaders, Vivian Gama and Felysha Jenkins!

Photo of Vivian Gama.
Vivian Gama, Ph.D.


Vivian Gama, Ph.D, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, was named the new associate dean for equity and inclusive mentoring on September 1, 2023. Gama’s personal experiences, such as coming to the United States from Bogotá, Colombia, and her mentors (notably Deshmukh during her time at UNC) played a major role in her career trajectory. Her background motivates and inspires her own interactions with trainees and staff to have a holistic approach to mentorship.




Photo of Felysha Jenkins.
Felysha Jenkins, Ph.D.


Felysha Jenkins, Ph.D. joined Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine Basic Sciences in September 2021 to coordinate DEI efforts. In 2023 she was named assistant dean of DEI. Jenkins has expanded strategy, programming, and training around DEI topics including coordinating the DEI departmental committees, bringing DEI perspectives to the Dean’s Advisory Council for Mental Health and Wellness, and launching multiple event series.





Discovery Science Emerging Scholar Seminars

The Discovery Science Emerging Scholars Lectures features young scientists making notable discoveries as postdoctoral fellows or early career faculty. Check  here for upcoming Emerging Scholar seminars!


How does fundamental biomedical discovery and its applications connect with your day-to-day life? How does research impact and inform society? Through a new monthly event series called Lab-to-Table Conversations, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Basic Sciences looks to explore these questions. View all of our upcoming and previous Lab-to-Table conversations here!

VIRAL Academic Symposium

Vanderbilt International Researcher Alliance (VIRAL) was formed to create an environment to foster international researchers by providing them with a community which promotes intercultural awareness via educational, social, and cross-cultural programs and provide a space to discuss concerns and communicate the needs of the international community. Check here for news about the annual VIRAL Academic Symposium.

Celebration of Freedom: The Deeper Significance of Juneteenth (June 2024)

Tuesday, June 18, 2024, Light Hall 208, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Featuring US Historian Dr. Learotha Williams.
Food, raffles, prizes, giveaways!

Lou De Felice Travel Award

Lou De Felice Summer Student Travel Awards aim to increase diversity and inclusion in the biomedical research community. Specifically, these awards are for students and their faculty mentor to attend either the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) or ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students) research conference.


There is a future where STEM reflects the demographics of our country, so the field is better equipped to solve our world’s most pressing problems. Through our people, programs, and partnerships, SACNAS has taken a radical approach to lead with culture and identity as the means to achieve true diversity in STEM.

For over 20 years, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) – recipient of the 2019 AIMBE Excellence in STEM Education Award – has been the go-to conference for historically excluded community college, undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tri-institutional seminar in collaboration with Dr. AJ Hinton

Invisible illness Panel


Coordination of the VOICES library (BRET office)

Establishment of the Linda Sealy Emerging Scholar Travel Award (April 2024)

The Linda Sealy Emerging Scholar Travel Award celebrates the scientific relationship between a mentor and trainee pair by providing them with $4,000 to attend a national conference in the trainee’s research field.

Sponsorship of the Intersections Science Fellows Symposium

The main goals of the multi-institutional Intersections Science Fellows Symposium are to showcase the outstanding research contributions of postdocs in the biological sciences, including those from backgrounds historically underrepresented in academia, and to support the scientific and professional development of the next generation of academic faculty.


We recognize there are continuing concerns about hate-based rhetoric, particularly given the march in downtown Nashville this weekend. I encourage anyone who needs support to take advantage of the university’s resources.